Understanding Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder is a condition which causes people to experience extreme highs and lows in their moods and energy levels. The highs are often referred to as “manic” episodes, during which some people feel extremely happy. However, these episodes can lead to delusions of grandeur, hyperactivity, and reckless behaviors. They can even cause vivid psychotic hallucinations.
Severe mania is typically followed by equally severe depression. Bipolar patients may feel fantastic one day, but lack the will to get out of bed the next. Depressive episodes carry many of the same risks as chronic depression, including suicide.
A number of factors contribute to bipolar disorder, and many of them are hereditary. Like other mental illnesses, however, it can be made far worse with drug abuse. Opiates and other chemicals which interfere with the natural production of dopamine can lead to skewed hormonal balances, causing people to experience severe mood swings.
Problems for Bipolar Addicts
Bipolar sufferers often develop drug addictions when they self-medicate during depressive episodes. When they’re manic, they may even feel invincible and use dangerous drugs for recreational purposes. In either case, the combination of bipolar and addiction leads to severe consequences. The most common effects include:
*Arrests and prison time due to reckless behavior
*Aggression and violence
*Inability to hold a job
*Self-harm during both manic and depressive episodes
*More frequent relapses after drug treatment
The Role of Dual Diagnosis
Since drug addiction and mental illness so often go hand-in-hand, most inpatient drug rehab facilities are now equipped to identify co-occurring disorders – a practice known as dual diagnosis. When patients first meet with their one-on-one counselors, they discuss a variety of issues regarding addicts’ experiences and life circumstances. The counselors often discover dipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, and even schizophrenia.
Integrated Treatment: A Different Approach
Because of the incredibly high rates of drug relapse among mental patients, it’s best to simultaneously treat addiction and co-occurring disorders. However, traditional therapies for these problems are vastly different. The normal approach to substance abuse is to treat it as a behavior. Even though addiction is a legitimate disease, patients are told that they must make conscious choices to slowly but surely alter their actions. In general, the onus for improvement is placed on the addict.
That strategy may work well for addiction alone, but mental patients typically receive a “softer” type of therapy. They gradually build trusting relationships with their psychiatrists, and they work as teams to make small changes in behavior and thought. While the patient must still take action, the therapist is expected to guide progress.
Integrated treatment combines these methods in order to help people cope with the underlying causes of addiction and bipolar disorder. In some cases, counselors may first address their patients’ mental illnesses to effect eventual change in drug-related behaviors. At other times, they will focus first on drug use. When an addict’s mental illness is exacerbated by drugs, managing cravings is often the necessary first step in their overall recovery.
If you’re struggling with bipolar disorder and addiction, don’t suffer alone. Call the number at the top of your screen for a toll-free consultation with one of our dedicated addiction specialists. We’re standing by around the clock to help you get started on the most effective inpatient drug rehab program.